With the budget debate in Augusta approaching a climax, it is worth remembering where we started:
In January, Gov. Paul LePage proposed raising local taxes to balance the state's budget.
He proposed ending the Homestead Property Tax Exemption for those under 65. A clear tax increase for homeowners.
The governor proposed ending the Circuit Breaker property tax refund used by 90,000 Maine households. Another tax increase.
He proposed raising taxes on corporations like Shaw's, L.L. Bean and most of the paper mills in the state by ending for one year the equipment tax reimbursements known as BETR. Another tax increase.
Under a bill signed May 30, the governor will require school districts like Lewiston and Auburn to raise property taxes for schools or eventually face the loss of state support.
Finally, the governor's proposal would require local property tax increases to make up for revenue sharing cities and towns had formerly received or suffer the loss of local services.
Yet, four months later, the governor continues to pretend he is against raising taxes.
We are sure Grover Norquist would agree that eliminating a tax break is the same thing as raising a tax.
All of which leaves the Legislature with two unpleasant choices: either raise some statewide tax or swallow hard and accept the governor's plan to raise local property taxes.
A sensible thing might have been to revisit the Legislature's decision in 2011 to cut the state's income tax rate, a tax cut which is not yet in place.
For whatever reason, Democrats unilaterally took that option off the table Tuesday.
Delaying those cuts for two years could have solved half of the state's $800 million budget problem.
This was doubly weird because Democrats on the Taxation Committee had announced just last week that they favored delaying the income tax cut by two years.
Democrats could have argued that the national economy is improving and that the state might be better positioned in two years to deliver on the income tax break.
Now, Democrats will be facing the same criticism they have been hurling at Republicans since the beginning of the session, that they are paying for an income tax cut by raising property taxes.
Now, if the governor gets his way, when the property tax increases and municipal service cuts occur, Democrats won't even be able to say they went down fighting.
If this whole dance looks familiar, it's because we are approaching the sort of standoff we see in Washington all the time.
The only difference: Maine can't magically raise its debt limit and borrow more money.
If the state doesn't have a budget in place when the old one expires at the end of this month, the bills don't get paid and the government shuts down.
So, on one side we have a group of Democrats who have already shown they are willing to compromise.
On the other, we have a governor we all know would rather cut off his right hand than sign any tax increase proposed by a Democrat.
Both Republicans and Democrats know shifting this problem back to local government and property taxpayers is wrong. It is an abdication of responsibility that would make this state even more reliant on property taxes when we should be going in the opposite direction.
So far, legislative Republicans have shown no stomach for defying the governor, regularly going back on previous votes to avoid overriding the governor.
It's time they look themselves in the mirror, think of the impact of the governor's plan on their property taxpayers and communities, and find a way forward without the governor's blessing.
The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and the editorial board.